Conference call thoughts: Nov. 22

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel and Iowa State coach Dan McCarney spoke with the media Monday morning on the Big 12's weekly coaches' teleconference. Read on for selected thoughts from both coaches about last week's games and their matchup this weekend.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel

Opening statement: "We didn't do the things necessary to win. I thought (Kansas) played very, very well. We're focusing on our last game against Iowa State. They just keep getting better each and every week. We'd like to, obviously, go out and play well."

On playing the spoiler role against the Cyclones: "I think that you look a little bit more at yourself. You just want to end the season on a positive note. These have been tough weeks. We're focusing more on playing well, heading into the offseason in a positive way and breaking out of this."

On what can be done to break the losing streak: "If it was magical, I would have done it weeks ago. I haven't gotten the team out of this, so I'm responsible for doing that. We'll just continue to work hard and prepare and hopefully we'll play well. It's my job to do that."

On the most frustrating aspect of his team this season: "I think, as you look back, offensively, our inconsistency has been very disappointing to me. Our inconsistency on both sides of the football in the second half…our kicking game has been average at best and we work so hard at it. A lot of frustration, obviously. My biggest frustration is that we just have not played well as a team very often."

On Iowa State: "They're playing very good defense statistically. It's very impressive, what I've seen. You can just see them get better. They're playing very good football."

On breaking out of the losing streak: "I've been there. I've lost three in a row or been in a position to have to win out. And we did it; but it didn't get done this year and it's obviously very disappointing for me."

Iowa State coach Dan McCarney

Opening statement: "We're extremely proud of our staff and team. It was a great victory for us, over one of the most respected teams in the nation. It was a great example of perseverance and resolve and confidence in one another that we could come back and win that football game. We have a very talented football team coming in. We're gonna have a real, real challenge with Missouri. We've had many great games with Missouri over the years and we fully expect one this Saturday."

On the importance of the Kansas State win: "It was really big. It was big for our season, big for our program. There was a time where it might have gone the other direction, but these kids just wouldn't give in to the adversity. To come back and win it the way we did…hopefully we'll continue to build on it."

On his defense against Kansas State: "We weren't as good against the rush as we needed to be, but Darren Sproles had some things to do with that. We made some big plays. I can't say enough about how the kids have stepped it up. They're sure doing a good job of that."

On if it will be difficult for his players to stay focused this week: "I don't think so. It just goes right back to the leadership we have on this team and the respect we have for Gary Pinkel and the Missouri program. We have a lot to play for, but so does Missouri."

On the recent history between the schools: "All I know is, this is a team that beat us 45-7 last year and clearly one of the best defenses in the conference. This is Gary's best defense, without question. We're gonna have our hands full, I know that much. We know they're very capable of beating anybody, especially Iowa State if we're not ready to go."

On forcing more turnovers this season: "We started to get some in the Northern Illinois game when we scored twice on defense. Ever since that game, we've been much better than we were a year ago, much more opportunistic. We really feel like we should have two or three more defensive scores. The kids expect it; they have seen it. Those kinds of things snowball and it's one of the reasons we've won so many games in recent weeks."

On the improvement of running back Stevie Hicks: "We're getting better in the offensive line. It's not the wall of granite right now, but we are improving and Stevie's improving. It's the entire unit. Every phase of our football team has a lot of room to grow and improve nd I think the players understand that. It's really exciting."

On his team's surprisingly strong season: "We've come a long way since the first game and I'm not about to let off the accelerator. I want to keep this thing going."


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